afaqs! news bureau
Marketing Initiative

Programmatic Advertising without Cookies: “The era of one-to-one targeting & retargeting may be over”, but it’s not all bad news

ETBrandEquity & Aroscop (A Programmatic Advertising Platform) brought advertising industry leaders together on 24th September to foresee what comes in the Cookieless Future.

Aroscop's platform provides brands, agencies, and marketers more significant control over their campaigns smartly to drive unprecedented transparency and ease of use. The omnichannel campaign management capabilities with Aroscop include execution, creative management, targeting, and reporting in one technology ecosystem. Additionally, their solutions are tailor-made for both brands and agencies.

The summit "CookieLess Future" started with a keynote speech and a Question & Answer session with Neil Patel, Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, and Digital Marketing Expert, on how he sees the departure of 3rd party cookies will change the way advertising is done. Neil wasn't surprised by Google's recent announcement to phase out the 3rd party cookies on chrome within the next two years. He said, "It was inevitable, something that was bound to happen. The question was when." On asked whether this means an end to Programmatic Advertising as we know it, he emphasized, "No, there is already a lot going on in programmatic advertising without 3rd party cookies. Then there are solutions like CDP already available in the market to keep the relevancy of ads intact."

Patel asked organizations not to worry about this change since everyone in the industry will be in the same situation. When asked if publishers will have the upper hand as the audiences' gatekeepers, he threw light on the advertisers' power to buy traffic. He is optimistic about the developments and believes that user privacy has received a much-needed push, and data security will be taken seriously.

While wrapping up his keynote, he added that this doesn't mean that marketing has to go through single channels for clear attributions since it has already evolved into an omnichannel function, and going back now doesn't make sense.

The summit proceeded with the launch of the report titled "The Cookieless Future - Fears, Opportunities & the Way Forward" by Kumar Ramamurthy, CMO at Aroscop. The report is based on an extensive survey conducted over 3 weeks with industry leaders representing top brands, advertising agencies, publishers, and technology providers from different corners of the country. It incorporates the key challenges, fears, and opportunities that these leaders see in the future without 3rd party cookies.

While most survey respondents across verticals believe that Frequency Capping, Personalization, Behavioural Targeting, and Retargeting will have major to severe impact in the post-cookie era, only 8% have shifted to alternative solutions.

41% of the agencies and 30% of the technology providers agree (or strongly agree) that the existing solutions are at par with the 3rd party cookies.

-The Cookieless Future - Fears, Opportunities & the Way Forward

Claim a free copy of the report here.

After the report launch, the summit moved ahead with the first panel discussion - "Programmatic Advertising Without Cookies" with Jose Leone, COO at Indigo Consulting, as the moderator. The panel included Sachin Vashishtha, Associate Director & Head, Digital Transformation & Marketing at Paisabazaar, Amit Tiwari, VP Marketing at Havells, Arjun Som, Founding Member - Aroscop, and Abhishek Shah, Head of Marketing at Bharatpe.

The panel was the perfect mix of industry stalwarts to bring in different perspectives. Jose Leone opened the discussion stating his fears for the Programmatic advertising without 3rd party cookies. He mentioned how difficult it would be to figure out customers' online behavior, which will adversely impact programmatic advertising as we know it.

He then invited others in the panel to deliver their thoughts on how 3rd party cookies have helped advertisers so far, and after they are gone, what all would change.

Amit Tiwari from Havells, a marketer for two decades, stated that advertisers have been evolving since the beginning and no longer depend only on cookies to deliver successful campaigns. He added that the market is swiftly moving towards alternatives live contextual targeting & advertising, which are getting more efficient with time. He went on to say that advanced methods like Netnography (an online research method originating in ethnography, is understanding social interaction in contemporary digital communications contexts), semantic contextual targeting, and deep learning will be playing a major part in behavioral targeting in the future. As per Tiwari, as long as the data generated is authentic, whether from third party cookies or first-party sources, the means are insignificant. Tiwari also talked about the mantra of 3-Ts required to strengthen the digital ecosystem - Trust, Transparency and Technology.

Arjun Som, with over 15 years in advertising technology, then pitched in his thoughts. He mentioned that 3rd party cookies have been at the core of all major advertising tactics and strategies for many years now. Though they were not a very sophisticated way of capturing user data, 3rd party cookies have played a crucial role in rolling out simple strategies like frequency capping as well as complex ones like dynamic creative optimization. In the cookieless future, Arjun foresees evolving dynamics between users, advertisers, and publishers.

"A cookieless world will invite tech providers and partners to come in agreement to formulate better solutions. This will also provide open web standards and APIs to tech providers and publishers to track their users," Som added. Explaining what might essentially change in the cookieless world, Arjun noted, “we might see an end to targeting individual users across the web”. What will emerge, he added, is the cohort-based targeting that will take up a more defined shape in the future.

Shah from BharatPe, representing the Fintech industry, where data privacy is a sensitive issue, suggests that a critical balance between privacy and personalization needs to be achieved. Both are important to users to certain extents, and maintaining this balance should be the top priority for advertisers in the cookieless world.

Sachin Vashishtha, from Paisabazaar, places his bet on the enrichment of the first-party data with the advertisers. "With the right steps and investments, brands will learn to harness the benefits of such data", he added.

Then the discussion moved on to the possible alternatives that advertisers, media planners, and marketers can rely on in the future to mitigate the gaps left behind by third party cookies. Some of the solutions are detailed out in the report launched earlier.

Summarizing the discussion, Jose noted that not all cookies are bad. He said, "Marketers love first-party cookies since that allows them to provide contextual experiences to their customers, without being intrusive."